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American Forces Press Service

Strategy Drove Budget Decisions, Dempsey Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, March 29, 2012 – Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said today he stands by his testimony that the fiscal 2013 defense budget request grew from the new strategy and was not simply a target number that planners had to hit.

Speaking with reporters returning to the United States with him after a trip to South America, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the budget request, which trims $487 billion from projected Defense Department spending over 10 years, “was very much a strategy-driven process.”

On the military side, the budget request was the product of not only the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but also the combatant commanders. All agreed with the process, officials said.

Pentagon officials used the strategy review to look ahead to see what type of military the country will need in 2020. Under the strategy, the U.S. will continue as a global power. But the strategy recognized that while the U.S. retains the option to operate alone in defense of vital national issues, almost always the nation will work as part of a coalition.

The strategy calls for cuts in some areas and more resources in others. It shifts focus to the Asia-Pacific region, beefs up cybersecurity, cuts troops in Europe, continues missile defense and increases efforts to develop partnerships with nations around the world.

So the strategy looked where resources were needed, and Pentagon planners tied that to the budget process, Dempsey said. “Was cost a factor? Of course it is,” he added. “Cost is a factor in every aspect of our nation’s livelihood.”

Dempsey reiterated the maxim that national power is the aggregate of economic, diplomatic and military capabilities.

“We started with a strategy, we mapped it to the budget – it’s just a fresh step,” he said. “I’ve also been very deliberate and careful, and, I hope, articulate in explaining the budget is balanced in the sense that we’ve affected all of its functions – compensation, health care, modernization, manpower and so forth.”

Dempsey said that balance gives him confidence that the military can carry out the strategy.

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